Lecrae is African American. I am not.
Lecrae grew-up in the inner-city. I did not.
Lecrae was a fatherless child. I was not.
Lecrae attended public school. I did not.
Lecrae has a Tupac-inspired tattoo. I do not (I have no tattoos for that matter).
Lecrae has been drunk, used drugs, and been arrested. I have not.
Lecrae grew-up on rap, writes rap, and performs rap for thousands. Not me.
You might conclude at this point that Lecrae is very different than me. You are right in a sense. But, you’d be very wrong at the same time.
Lecrae and I couldn’t be more similar. Let me explain.
I have only recently had Lecrae come across my radar and that only thanks to a friend. I’ve only listened to a small amount of his music. I watched this movie he is in. And, I knew he claimed to be a Christian. So, I wanted to see what this African American man, this famous rapper, this Christian had to say to the world. Had to say to me.
I’m not really sure what I expected. Learn a little I suppose about African Americans. And, I did discover a good bit about inner-city life. But, what I additionally gained from the book was very unexpected. I never would have imagined that I could relate to Lecrae. I was merely out to learn some facts and assuage my curiosity about Lecrae. But, what I stumbled upon was deep encouragement and a person I could understand.
I am ashamed by my propensity to still judge people by the outward. When will I learn?! I thought I had grown in this area, but I clearly still have work to do. I know it’s the tendency of man. Only God sees the heart and judges by that.
When I read Lecrae’s book, I discovered that he and I are internally quite similar. Sure, when I look at his pictures online, even after reading his book, I feel the gap growing between us based on the outward. When I look at his no-smile, tough-guy picture or watch one of his newer music videos, I think surely, he would never, ever talk to me or get me, or be friends with me, or give me the time of day…
…I stop and remember his written words where he takes us behind that external shell and gives us full access to his heart and mind. His vulnerability was shocking. His comprehensive revealing of his past was humbling. He seemed to hold nothing back but lay it all out for his audience to see. And, you know what I discovered? He is exactly like me. Exactly. He is insecure. Feels like an outsider. Struggles with the desire to be accepted. And, so much more. I couldn’t believe it.
As I read chapter one, I cried. This tough, black, inner-city rapper guy is making me cry! My husband startled me when he came around the doorway and caught sight of a tear running down my cheek. I quickly wiped at my face as I brushed past him and tried to explain my emotional state by offering, “This book is soooo good.”
And, it was. Over and over again I felt I totally got Lecrae. We were born only days apart, yet, our circumstances could hardly be more polar opposite. Nevertheless, our internal struggles are the same. He is just like me.
The more I get to know people or read about people the more I am convinced how similar we all are at the unseen level. Single. Married. Divorced. Only child. Big family. Home-schooled. Public schooled. Inner-city. Rich. Young. Old. White. African American. We can all connect. We can get each other. We can encourage one another.
We each have these personas that we naturally use to divide ourselves into groups. Then we look erroneously at the other groups and think we could never connect with them. After all, they are so different than we are. But, I beg to differ. We all have so much more in common than appears on the surface. When we dig a little deeper and don’t let the outward appearances or circumstances deter us, we can discover that we share very similar internal struggles despite the disparity of our outward lives.
Lecrae has gone on an amazing journey so far in his life. I absolutely loved the story he told in his book. I love seeing how God has and is working in Lecrae’s life.
I may never be able to meet my brother Lecrae on earth (although we do both live in Atlanta, so maybe our paths will cross one day…which would be awesome!), but we will definitely be spending eternity together praising our Savior. God has taken Lecrae and me on such diverse paths from one another, and yet, ultimately, He’s taken us on the exact same path heading straight to the gates of Heaven.
And, will Lecrae be rapping and me be singing the old hymns at the throne of Jesus? I honestly don’t know. But, I do know with certainty that whatever the music of Heaven is, it will be perfect and no one will be arguing over it. Praise Jesus. I CANNOT wait for that glorious day! But, I digress…
I am thankful to Lecrae for sharing his story. You and I are also part of God’s comprehensive story. Yes, God is in the process of writing a story that will blow our minds for all eternity. God is including myriads of imperfect characters from all walks of life over thousands of years in His perfect story that will glorify Him forever.
But, why share this post? Because I want you to see that a white girl from the suburbs and a black rapper from the inner-city can relate. I want you to see that what we let so often divide us, our skin color, our ethnicity, our cultures, our music! are actually just an outer difference that doesn’t prevent us from relating on an internal level.
I want you to remember that people different than yourself are not people to avoid and assume you can’t relate to. If we want racial harmony, we must reach out to people who aren’t the same as us and get to know each other.
And, while I loved Lecrae’s story, it also broke my heart. His upbringing in the inner-city was full of violence, sex, and hopelessness. The statistics for an inner-city school here in Atlanta, South Atlanta High School, breaks my heart. More young “Lecraes” are growing up just miles away from me but who can say if hope will ever be spoken into their lives as it was into his. What are “good, Christian people” here in the wealthy suburbs doing for these disadvantaged youth of today? What am I doing? What can I do? I don’t know for sure. And, that frustrates me. But, I’m searching. I’m pondering. I’m seeing a problem but not sure the solution. Feel free to give me insight please.
Lecrae is seeking to reach the inner-city with his rap. That’s clearly not what God has for me. So, what can I do to show these precious people love and give them hope? What can you do? First, I’d encourage you to read Lecrae’s book and learn of inner-city life from someone who knows it well firsthand, and then I’d encourage you to ponder what God would have you do. While I don’t know where God is leading me specifically, I am on a path I never could have imagined just a year ago. I’m having a lot of discussions with my husband of 17 years over all these matters. I’ll keep taking this new direction in my life step by step and trust that God will lead me where He wants me to be and hopefully change the world for the better in the process. Thank you for reading.